GeoPython 2021

Mapping, Monitoring and Forecasting Groundwater Floods in Ireland
2021-04-22, 14:00–14:30, Track 2

An automated approach for characterizing groundwater floods in Ireland based on remote sensing data, GIS information and hydrological models to improve the reliability of adaptation planning and predictions in the groundwater sector.

In recent years Ireland has experienced significant and unprecedented flooding events, such as groundwater floods, that extended up to hundreds of hectares during the winter flood season, lasting for weeks to months, and affecting many rural communities in Ireland. This issue was highlighted following widespread and record-breaking flooding in Winter 2015/2016 when little or no hydrometric data of groundwater floods was recorded. Further disruptive groundwater floods in 2018, 2020 and 2021 outlined the need for a systematic and large-scale mapping technique.

In response to these flooding events Geological Survey Ireland started the GWFlood project (2016 - 2019) and the GWClimate project (2020 – 2022) with the aim to establish an automated approach for mapping, monitoring and forecasting groundwater floods at a national scale, and to quantify the impact that Climate Change may have in groundwater systems. The use of remote sensing data, Sentinel-1 satellite imagery from the European Space Agency Copernicus program, was key to overcome practical limitations of establishing and maintaining a national field-based monitoring network. Remote sensing data was complemented with Geographic Information System (GIS) datasets to improve reliability in the final products, and with hydrological models to generate historical groundwater flood records based on meteorological data from Met Eireann and to provide forecast for groundwater floods.

Key deliverables of the GWFlood project included: 1) a national historic groundwater flood map 2) a methodology for hydrograph generation using satellite images, 3) predictive groundwater flood maps, and 4) a groundwater monitoring network to provide baseline data. The GWClimate project is enhancing the tools developed by GWFlood in order to deliver: 1) seasonal peak flood maps, 2) near-real time satellite-based hydrographs, 3) groundwater flood forecasting tools, and 4) maps evaluating the impact of climate change in groundwater systems in Ireland.

Data and maps from GWClimate and GWFlood projects are available at:
1), and